Johnson to meet Trump at Mar-a-Lago amid speakership threat

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., will meet former President Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate on Friday as the embattled House leader faces a threat to his speakership from Trump loyalist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.

Johnson and Trump have already been at odds on the House passing an additional $60 billion in aid to Ukraine, which Johnson has for months declined to allow the House to vote on legislation already passed by the Democratic-led Senate. 

Trump has previously stated that he would end the war within 24 hours should he be reelected, while he has also touted converting the cost of weapons transfers to Ukraine into a loan.

Trump also encouraged GOP lawmakers to successfully "kill" reauthorizing FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a measure Johnson backed. The speaker is set to try again to push the measure through the House.


Meanwhile, earlier this month, Greene authored a resolution to force the House to take a vote of no confidence in the speaker. Greene railed at Johnson for negotiating spending bills with Democrats and forgoing the GOP’s internal rule, requiring 72 hours before voting on legislation.

She is also a staunch opponent of providing more aid to Ukraine. Greene and Johnson met on Wednesday, with Greene saying she is still frustrated with the speaker’s handling of several hot-button issues.


Nevertheless, Trump is expected to back the leadership of Johnson, who defended the former president in two impeachment trials.

In fact, Friday’s meeting has been billed as a "major announcement on election integrity," and to tout legislation that would prevent noncitizens from voting, although no further details have been provided.

The joint appearance will also give Johnson an opportunity to publicly showcase his close ties to Trump.

"It’s about Trump embracing Johnson," former Speaker Newt Gingrich said of Friday’s joint appearance, per the New York Times. "This is Trump saying, ‘He is the speaker, I am his friend, we are together.’ That’s a pretty important thing for him. He just has to endure."

The high-profile joint appearance comes days after Trump met with former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron at Mar-a-Lago.

Wisconsin Republicans advance election reform-centric constitutional amendments

Republicans who control the Wisconsin Legislature have advanced a series of constitutional amendments that would outlaw private funding for elections ahead of the 2024 presidential contest, bar municipalities from allowing non-U.S. citizens to vote in local elections and enshrine existing voter photo ID requirements in the state constitution.

The proposals debated Tuesday at a joint hearing of the Senate and Assembly elections committees stem from false claims made by former President Donald Trump and his supporters that widespread voter fraud tipped the 2020 presidential election in favor of President Joe Biden.

Constitutional amendments must be passed in two consecutive sessions of the state Legislature before being ratified by voters in a statewide election. The governor cannot veto a constitutional amendment.


Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has previously vetoed more than a dozen Republican-backed elections proposals, including a 2021 bill to outlaw private elections grants.

The Legislature approved the amendments requiring voters to be U.S. citizens and outlawing private elections grants in its last session. The voter ID amendment is a new proposal this year, which means the soonest it could be put on the ballot for voter approval is 2025.

Assembly Majority Leader Tyler August said Tuesday that he hopes to put the amendment outlawing election grants before voters in the statewide April 2024 election and put the citizenship requirements on the November 2024 ballot.

Conservatives were outraged in 2020 by a nonprofit that distributed hundreds of millions of dollars in grants, mostly funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, to local election offices. Opponents termed the money "Zuckerbucks" and claimed it was an attempt by the billionaire to tip the vote in favor of Democrats, although there was no evidence to support that. Since 2020, GOP lawmakers in at least 20 states have outlawed private elections grants.

There has also been a recent push for states to specifically make clear that only U.S. citizens can vote in state and local elections. Some cities and towns across the country have allowed noncitizens to vote in local elections. Federal law already requires U.S. citizenship to vote in national elections and no state constitutions explicitly allow noncitizens to vote in state or local elections.

The Wisconsin Constitution guarantees that every U.S. citizen age 18 and over is a qualified elector. But it does not specifically say that only U.S. citizens are qualified to vote in state or local elections.

"I don't think anyone in this room believes noncitizens are going to gain the right to vote in the state of Wisconsin anytime soon," said Jamie Lynn Crofts, policy director for Wisconsin Voices. "It should be up to people at the local level to decide if noncitizens should be able to vote in their local elections."

The photo ID amendment would enshrine the state's current photo ID law, enacted in 2011, in the state constitution. The Legislature could still pass exceptions to the requirement.


The move to make photo ID a constitutional requirement comes after the Wisconsin Supreme Court flipped to liberal control. There is no current legal challenge to the state's voter ID requirement, which is one of the strictest in the country. But other election-related lawsuits challenging restrictions on absentee voting and ballot drop boxes could be taken up by the state Supreme Court.

Republican supporters at Tuesday's hearing said the voter ID law is designed to ensure that only qualified voters cast ballots. But opponents say voter ID requirements make it more difficult for people to vote, particularly those with disabilities, the elderly and people who don't have driver's licenses.

Under current law, and the proposed amendment, voters must provide one of a list of approved photo IDs in order to cast their ballot. Acceptable IDs include a Wisconsin driver’s license, U.S. passport, tribal ID, U.S. military ID or student ID. Absentee voters must provide a photocopy of their ID when requesting a ballot.

Voters who do not have one of the required photo IDs can vote a provisional ballot and then return by the deadline with the identification to have the ballot counted. The ability to cast a provisional ballot does not change under the proposed amendment.